Scientists from the US Geological Survey had recorded at least 46 tremors as officials on the island issued mandatory evacuation notices to householders.
The most powerful earthquake was magnitude 3.3 and struck 2.5 miles from the erupting volcano.
There region has been rocked by hundreds of tremors linked to Kilauea in recent weeks including a record 270 last Saturday The volcano-related earthquakes have caused cracks to open up across the Big Island’s southeastern region. Residents in the nearby Leilani area are being ordered to leave their homes immediately as the lava spreads down Highway 132.
Shelters have been set up at community centres and churches in the area.
A Civil Defence spokesman said: “Residents on Noni Farms Road and Hale Kamahina road need to evacuate immediately due to a fast moving lava flow.
“Shelters are open at the Pahoa Community Center, Kea’au Community Center and the Sure Foundation Church.” A second update at 1.30am local time (12.30pm BST) extended the evacuation notice to the Kapoho area including Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland.
The evacuation orders came as Kilauea entered its fourth week of simultaneous eruptions at its summit crater and along a six-mile string of fissures 25 miles down its easterm side.
Lava flows from multiple fissures have blocked roads and damaged dozens of buildings. Given the dynamic nature of Kīlauea’s lower East Rift Zone eruption, with changing vent locations, fissures starting and stopping, and varying rates of lava effusion, map details shown here are accurate as of the date/time noted—and could have changed rapidly since that time. Shaded purple areas indicate lava flows erupted in 1840, 1955, 1960 and 2014-2015.
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that lava from several fissures continues to advance toward the Kapoho area.
Residents of Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland are advised to evacuate. You are at risk of being isolated due to possible lava inundation of Beach Road near Four Corners.
Due to the lava activity the following policies are in effect:
Flows are estimated to be less than 1/2 mile from Highway 137, north of Ahalenui County Park. Beach
Road is restricted to resident traffic from Four Corners to Hawaiian Beaches to allow continued evacuations.
Cell phone and telephone landline communications in the Kapoho area have been severely limited due to downed power and telephone lines. Contact friends and relatives to make sure they’re safe.
Highway 132 is closed.